$10,000 reward offered for tips on railroad switch box tampering


June 17th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered to anyone who can provide information leading to an arrest associated with last Sunday’s railroad switch box tampering incident, near Menlo. That word came Thursday afternoon from officials with the Iowa Interstate Railroad (IRR).

Early Sunday morning, a train crew passing through the area discovered a switch box had been broken into about a quarter mile west of Menlo. A second train on its way to the area was ordered to stop short of Menlo until the incident could be investigated, and all traffic on the rail was shut down for about eight-hours.

IRR officials say if the first alert train crew hadn’t made the discovery as quickly as it did, a train coming through would have derailed, resulted in a fire, the death of the train‘s crew, and a potential hazard to the nearby community.

The FBI is assisting the Iowa State Patrol and the Guthrie County Sheriff’s Department in the investigation, but authorities say they do not believe the tampering to be a terrorist threat. Neighbors believe more than one person was responsible for breaking into the switch box.

If you have information about the incident that may help authorities, call (319)-298-5405 or e-mail to MenloReward@IASRR.com.